It’s very important for the Edmonton Oilers to follow the Martin Marincin template with all of these young defensemen. Sign them to a pro deal, have them spend at least one year with Todd Nelson in Oklahoma City, and then bring them to the show.
OSCAR KLEFBOM 2013-14
- Oct-Dec: 27, 0-3-3 -10
- Jan-Feb: 10, 0-3-3 +2
- Overall: 37, 0-6-6 -8
I’ve heard and read a lot about Klefbom being a disappointment, but I think we need to remember that he missed last season (for the most part) and there’s a lot of adjustment for him in North America. Jonathan Willis has been supplying us with brilliant updates all season long.
- Todd Nelson: “Absolutely. I thought Oscar tonight was probably the best player on the ice, or one of the best. Last night he was excellent. You’re always worried about a guy coming back off injury, if he can get back to the level he was at just before he was hurt. He played three good games before he got injured, but tonight he was exceptional. Hopefully that continues and he has that consistency because he was a horse out there. I talked to Gerry and we both agreed ‘let’s put him out there as much as we can, because he’s playing so well and he’s a horse and he can handle it.’”
- Todd Nelson: “Oscar is a defenseman’s defenseman. He really prides himself on playing good defensive hockey. He skates well. He’s a strong kid. He’s able to move the puck. He’s got a lot of skill. He just needs to play hockey games.”
- Todd Nelson: “Here in the minors we learn to play defensive hockey, how to play away from the puck, something he does pretty well. He’s a good skater. He can handle the puck. He has all those skills. He has that mindset of playing defense. That’s a big plus. He just needs some experience.”
- MacT (Nov 14): “I thought Klefbom would be ready to play at NHL level at beginning of the season, I was wrong about that.”
- Jonathan Willis: Klefbom recorded his first career AHL point with the primary assist on Joel Broda’s second period goal. After the game, Todd Nelson was impressed by his ability to win puck battles along the board and said that’s something Klefbom can bring with him to the next level when he makes the jump. Klefbom also excelled at making breakout passes tonight.
- Jonathan Willis: Klefbom has generally played quite well. He skates well, engages physically and moves the puck exceptionally for a defensive defenseman. The problem is that he’s still awfully raw. He doesn’t think the game like an NHL defenseman; he’ll get there but he needs time. How much time? At this point I’d pencil him in for third pairing minutes in the NHL next season and leave him with Todd Nelson for the rest of this year. He’s killing penalties and learning both sides of the ice in Oklahoma; it’s better for him to make those mistakes down here than at the NHL level where it’s going to cost the team and open the player up to high levels of criticism.
The Oilers first round picks that have been devoted to defensemen since the turn of the century (Alex Plante, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse) is trending in a very good way. Patience is the word. Klefbom needs more time in OKC, the back half of this season should see some excellent growth.